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When Self-Interest Is Self-Defeating: The Public Goods Experiment As A Teaching Tool

Author

Listed:
  • Nelson, Robert G.
  • Beil, Richard O., Jr.

Abstract

This simple classroom experiment demonstrates many of the behavioral phenomena associated with the voluntary provision of a public good. The mechanics of the game are explained in detail and complete instructions are provided, as well as suggestions for follow-up lectures. Influences such as anonymous voting, persuasion, returns to free-riding, and duration of association can be explored in connection with concepts of incentives, individual rationality, and group welfare. A number of variations and extensions can be used to incorporate prisoners' dilemmas, incentive compatible mechanisms, negative externalities, and Coasian bargaining.

Suggested Citation

  • Nelson, Robert G. & Beil, Richard O., Jr., 1994. "When Self-Interest Is Self-Defeating: The Public Goods Experiment As A Teaching Tool," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26, pages 1-11, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:joaaec:15171
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.15171
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    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/15171/files/26020580.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    2. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    3. R. Isaac & David Schmidtz & James Walker, 1989. "The assurance problem in a laboratory market," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 217-236, September.
    4. Thomas McCaleb & Richard Wagner, 1985. "The experimental search for free riders: Some reflections and observations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 479-490, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Soňa Kukučková & Pavel Žiaran, 2018. "Free-rider Problem in Classroom Games - Impact of Gender and Intergroup Conditions," Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Mendel University Press, vol. 66(6), pages 1517-1525.
    2. Metin TETİK, 2020. "Investigating factors affecting cooperative and non-cooperative behavior: An experimental game in the classroom," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(2(623), S), pages 205-214, Summer.

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